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Is It Safe to Get the Flu Shot and the COVID-19 Vaccine?

By Josefa Paganuzzi, Thompson & Bender for NYP Lawrence

Oct. 13, 2021: This year, flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines are both widely available, leading some people to wonder: Is it safe to get both shots? There is very good data to show that both vaccines are safe, and no reason to avoid getting them both around the same time.

Last year, the U.S. saw very little flu, due largely to the measures put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including masking, distancing, and hand hygiene. But health authorities are concerned that the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of immunity from the flu last year could lead to a worse-than-usual flu season.

Early flu and early COVID-19 can look a lot alike, which can lead to people worrying if they have COVID-19 and may necessitate quarantining people and family members. It would be better to avoid it in the first place by having increased immunity against both the flu and COVID-19.

NewYork Presbyterian’s Health Matters gives you the latest information from our leading experts about the safety of getting both a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, what to expect from this year’s flu season, and the best time to get the shots.

Are there any health risks to getting the flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine?

No. When the COVID-19 vaccine first came out in December of 2020, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended against getting any other vaccine within two weeks before or after the COVID-19 vaccine. They were being extra careful to ensure that nothing interfered with the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, but they rescinded that guidance because there wasn’t evidence to support it. We already give people multiple vaccines at the same time. Our bodies can handle all of the antigens in these vaccines without any trouble.

This year, you can get both the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine. You may experience more side effects if you get both at the same time. And that’s why splitting them up, if you’re nervous about the side effects, is reasonable. It often takes  a few days after the COVID-19 vaccine before the arm soreness and other mild reactions are gone, so you can plan to get your flu vaccine a couple of days after the COVID-19 shot if you don’t want to get them on the same day.

When is the best time to get the flu vaccine?

The ideal time to get the flu shot is somewhere in the range of late September to end of November. And the absolute ideal is probably between mid-October and mid-November. And that’s because in New York, flu season typically begins toward mid-to-late December. We know that the flu shot takes about two weeks for it to start working, so this way you’ll be well protected by the time flu season starts.

What about people who are immunocompromised or elderly and are eligible for a third COVID-19 shot? Should they have any safety concerns about getting both vaccines?

No, they should absolutely get them both. More than 6 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide and there haven’t been long-term side effects that we’ve seen. It’s a very effective and safe vaccine on its own or in combination with others.

Also, if you’re over 65, you can ask to get either the high-dose flu shot or the adjuvanted flu shot, which is going to be more effective for the people in that age group. If it’s not immediately available, go ahead and get the regular one so that you don’t miss getting your flu shot in time.

For children who may be due for other typical childhood vaccines, are there any risks of getting everything at once?

No, there aren’t. Your child may start getting somewhat additive side effects, meaning the likelihood of having a little bit of headache, muscle aches, low-grade fever for a day is going to go up a little bit. But getting them all at once gets them all out of the way, and they’ll be protected against all of those things as quickly as possible.

If your child isn’t eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine yet, get the flu vaccine because that’s going to provide a protection against at least the flu. And then when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for 5- to 11-year-olds, go and get that as soon as possible.

What can we expect for the upcoming flu season considering the low flu activity last year?

There is still going to be more masking, more social distancing, more hand hygiene, and more being careful this year than in most years, but schools are open, and lots of schools throughout the country have no particular mandates for kids in terms of vaccination, masks, and social distancing rules. And influenza, as an epidemic disease, is typically started by kids. So even if the adults may be being careful, this could be a big year for the flu because it’s going to be generated by kids who are going to come home and give it to their parents.

There’s also a second issue — because flu cases were unusually low last year, there’s not a lot of immunity to the circulating strains. Many authorities are worried that this year could be a bad year for the flu because there’s a lot less immunity in the population.

Any protection is better than none.

Before COVID-19, during flu season in January and February, sometimes half or more of the patients in some medical ICUs had influenza and pneumonia. Flu shots give you even more protection from bad complications of the flu.

To help the public reduce the risk of contracting the flu this season, NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital and the Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe are offering free flu vaccines to adults 19 and older. NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital nurses will administer the flu vaccinations, and no appointment is necessary. Participants must wear a face mask and be free of colds, cough, or fever.

Dates and Locations:

Friday, October 15, 2021

9AM – 2PM

Bronxville Court Room at Village Hall

200 Pondfield Road, Bronxville

Thursday, October 21, 2021

9AM – 2PM

Eastchester Public Library

11 Oakridge Place, Eastchester

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

10AM – 1PM

Tuckahoe Community Center

71 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe

For more information, call the Flu Shot Hotline at 914-787-6060.

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The Maxwell Institute of St. Vincent's Westchester offers outpatient chemical dependency treatment and education services for adults, adolescents and their families. Treatment includes individual and group psychotherapy, couples counseling, and psychiatric evaluation and medication management when indicated. The Institute welcomes individuals and family members who are experiencing marital and/or work-related distress as a result of alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependency.

The Maxwell Institute also offers community education services through its programs in drug and alcohol prevention in the schools. For persons wishing to become credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselors (CASACS) in New York State, the "Maxtrain" program provides the 350 classroom education hours that are an important part of the credentialing requirements.

The Maxwell Institute is grateful for the support of The Community Fund of Bronxville-Eastchester-Tuckahoe.

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The Counseling Center
180 Pondfield Road Bronxville,
New York 10708


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10 Studio Arcade
Bronxville, New York 10708


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Jenny A.  Kanganis, D.D.S.

Guy N. Minoli, D.D.S.

Since 1994, Dr. Kanganis and Dr. Minoli of Bronxville Dental Care have been leaders in the dental community, providing exceptional dentistry to generations of Bronxville families. They have a long history of excellence and have earned a reputation built on trust, compassion, and dedication. Drs. Kanganis and Minoli believe in a conservative, holistic, and minimally invasive approach to dentistry. Bronxville Dental Care welcomes patients of all ages and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cosmetic and restorative dentistry, implants, and pediatric dentistry. Dr. Kanganis especially loves treating children. As a mother herself of two recent Bronxville High School grads, she understands the importance of helping children to feel comfortable during their visits, while earning their trust and teaching them to become active participants in their oral health.

20 Studio Arcade

Bronxville, New York 10708

(914) 337-6536 

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44 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Quentin M. Murphy

77 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Scarsdale Pediatric Dental

777 Post Rd.
Scarsdale, NY 10583-5000 
Phone: 914. 472. 9090 

Dr. Michael J. Vitale

1 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708


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77 Quaker Ridge Road
New Rochelle, New York

Dr. Neil Goldberg

77 Pondfield Road Ste 2
Bronxville, New York 10708

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Dr. Mark Fox

ENT and Allergy Associates
1 Elm Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707

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670 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, NY 10707
(914) 787-6158


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In July 2014, Lawrence Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital established a new relationship aimed at enhancing care, improving access and lowering health care costs for residents of Bronxville and surrounding communities in Westchester County. Lawrence was renamed NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital.

Lawrence Hospital Center was founded in 1909 and is a 291-bed acute care facility with over 1100 employees and 400 physicians. It provides emergency care to approximately 35,000 individuals every year.   It became a designated New York State Stroke Center in 2006.  Its physicians provide expertise in virtually every area of medical specialty and include over 100 primary care physicians. And, Lawrence delivers about 2000 babies every year in the home-like setting of newly designed Labor and Delivery recovery rooms.

Outpatient services include diagnostic testing and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery options, and rehabilitation and sports medicine services. The Hospital has a Women`s Imaging Center where female patients receive diagnostic services in a private setting. Outpatient physical therapy, lymphedema therapy, speech and occupational therapy services are provided both on-site at the Hospital and at Lawrence`s satellite center, The Center for Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, in Scarsdale.

The Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The Hospital is fully licensed by the New York State Department of Health. Lawrence`s laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

55 Palmer Avenue
914-787-1000 (main number)

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Dr. Anne Galloway

77 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Kerrianne Page

14 Studio Arcade

Dr. Raymond Chow

700 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, New York


Dr. Polly Kanganis

4 Studio Arcade, Bronxville, NY 10708
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Thomas J. Rubeo Jr. MD
Bronxville Women's Care, Pllc
One Pondfield Road, Suite 302
Bronxville, NY 10708


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55 Park Avenue
Bronxville, New York 10708

Dr. Joseph Ciccio

1 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708


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77 Pondfield Road

Dr. Michael Elia

1 Stone Place
Bronxville, New York 10708


Westchester Health Pediatrics (formerly Children’s Medical Practice of Bronxville)
1 Elm Street
Tuckahoe, New York 10707

Scarsdale Pediatric Associates
2 Overhill Road Suite 220
Scarsdale, New York 10580

Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
495 Central Avenue
Scarsdale, New York

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